“Pardon the wait.” The woman’s white hair was fixed in a short perm, and she wore a red sweater and black pants with a pearl necklace and matching earrings. “I am Patricia Hayes. You must be Melonie?”
“Yes.” Melonie pasted a smile on and shook Patricia’s offered hand.
“We are delighted to have you here! And for the entire week! I hope you’re ready to have a lot of fun.”
Melonie nodded. Yes. Fun away from all that was familiar was exactly what she needed.
“Do you have your suitcase? Richard can give you a hand if you need it.”
“Oh, no, I can get it all. Give me just a minute.” She returned to her car and threw her duffle bag over her shoulder as she wheeled her suitcase toward Patricia, who was waiting for her with the door open.
“Come along, honey. Can you maneuver both of those up the stairs, or do you need to save one for a second trip—or I can find Richard?”
Melonie managed a carefree grin to assure the old lady. “No worries. I can get it.” She avoided the grandmotherly look of doubt Patricia gave her before turning to lead the way into the heart of the lodge.
(From "Finding Christmas Joy" by Amanda Tero;